Beautiful Label, Beautiful Wine (Again) from Donnafugata

I love love love wine labels. Mostly because I had to sell/see so many bottles with crap ones. There is a winery in Sicily that always impresses me with what’s inside and outside the bottle. The Donnafugata Floramundi carries on that tradition.

Perhaps you may remember Donnafugata from such bottles with great labels as Anthìlia, a white wine made from the indigenous Catarratto grape. (Went a little Troy McClure there.) I was sent an sample of the winery’s new red wine from the Cerasuolo di Vittoria region. Where is it, you might ask? Here’s a charming map from the winery:

There’s Vittoria in the lower righthand corner of Sicily. One of my favorite red wines from Sicily (and the world) comes from this neck of the woods, made from the Frappato grape. (I can never remember if it’s got a double “p” or “t” and I guessed wrong again. Going to have to come up with a pneumonic device for my brain.) It’s one of my favorite dinner wines. Frappato also plays a role in this wine, so let’s get to it.

Donnafugata Floramundi 2016 Cerasuolo di Vittoria

Beautiful Label, Beautiful Wine (Again) from DonnafugataWhat makes Cerasuolo di Vittoria unique is it’s a blend of two indigenous grapes, said Frappato and Nero d’Avola. In the case of the Floramundi, it’s 30% Frappato and 70% Nero d’Avola. The Frappato is the lighter grape while Nero adds some brooding depth. Combine the two and you have a really compelling wine.

Drinking this wine, I get a fresh pop of Frappato (Fra-pop-oh!) followed by some deep darkness from the Nero d’Avola.  It finishes with a peppery, sage-y kick. Reminds me of a great stew, like drinking a melange of many seasonings and flavors coming together harmoniously after hanging out in a confined space (in a friendly manner) for quite some time.

As rich as this wine is, I was surprised that it sees no oak. That’s the (literal) power of Nero d’Avola. The ABV is 13.3%, which is cool by me. Price is 30 bucks.

Let’s learn a bit about the label, shall we? Here’s what the winery has to say:

Floramundi is a fantastic figure of a woman who is giving the gift of wonderful interlacements of flowers and fruits with velvety tones. It is a dialogue between two souls, the elegant and sophisticated one of Floral Liberty, of which Vittoria is rich in testimonies, and the fascinating and suggestive one of the tradition of the Pupi Siciliani (Sicilian Puppets). A dialogue between Nero d’Avola and Frappato to listen to with pleasure. 

I like the idea of the Donnafugata Floramundi as a dialog between the two grapes and it’s certainly a pleasure to listen to the two grapes “speak.”

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Vigneti del Sole Montepulciano d’Abruzzo: Hall of Fame $10 Red

It’s not often you pour a wine and the first sip brings forth an involuntary “Wow!” Especially on an inexpensive wine. But this was the case with an red Italian gem I purchased at Grapepoint Wines, the Vigneti del Sole Montepulciano d’Abruzzo (2016).

Three things off the bat I liked about this wine, just looking at it:

  • Sealed with a screwcap
  • Cool label
  • Good importer (Skurnik Wines)

Let’s go to the tale of the tape and open it up:

Vigneti del Sole Montepulciano d’Abruzzo 2016

Vigneti del Sole Montepulciano d’Abruzzo: Hall of Fame $10 Red

Abruzzo

From Skurnik’s website, “After harvest, this wine is aged in stainless steel until bottling, preserving the freshness and fruit we love about Montepulciano.” Yup, sounds good to me. I noted that the 2017 is already listed and that this wine also comes in big 1.5L bottles. I could hardly think of a better wine for a party than a magnum of this red.

It’s got super-juicy black cherry flavors, a little bit of sappiness (not sappy like The Notebook* but like the stuff from trees) giving the wine body, and a nice bright minty snap on the finish. Wouldn’t hurt to throw it in the fridge for 30 minutes and server cool. Very food-friendly and also a pleasure to drink on its own. 12.5% alcohol.

Vigneti del Sole Montepulciano d’Abruzzo: Hall of Fame $10 Red

Hi! I like this wine. And my curtain.

I paid ten bucks for it. It’s definitely a great house wine candidate; take advantage of any offered case discount. You could probably get the same deal on six 1.5Ls, I’d see about having those ordered for you from your trusty wine shop. If you know the importer (Skurnik) it makes it a lot easier to track down.

Also a little Italian wine label knowledge. A lot of wines are “[Grape] of [Place].” Here the grape is Montepulciano and the region is Abruzzo. (Vigneti del Sole is the producer.) Same goes for Brunello di Montalcino, Barbera d’Asti, etc.

*Full disclosure: I watched The Notebook on a long international flight. I never sleep on airplanes so it’s a very contained, dark, surreal atmosphere to watch films. Literally everyone else on the flight is asleep except me. The combination of all these things makes movie-watching very…emotional. I (silently) wept so hard during the end of Silver Linings Playbook and during an animated movie, Rio. So if you’re on an international flight and sitting next to me, I suggest you go to sleep ASAP or bring some Kleenex for my tears. And don’t worry, I always get an aisle seat so I won’t be waking you up to go to the bathroom.

Map by By Gigillo83 via Wikimedia Commons

The post Vigneti del Sole Montepulciano d’Abruzzo: Hall of Fame $10 Red appeared first on Jameson Fink.

Vigneti del Sole Montepulciano d’Abruzzo: Hall of Fame $10 Red

It’s not often you pour a wine and the first sip brings forth an involuntary “Wow!” Especially on an inexpensive wine. But this was the case with an red Italian gem I purchased at Grapepoint Wines, the Vigneti del Sole Montepulciano d’Abruzzo (2016).

Three things off the bat I liked about this wine, just looking at it:

  • Sealed with a screwcap
  • Cool label
  • Good importer (Skurnik Wines)

Let’s go to the tale of the tape and open it up:

Vigneti del Sole Montepulciano d’Abruzzo 2016

Vigneti del Sole Montepulciano d’Abruzzo: Hall of Fame $10 Red

Abruzzo

From Skurnik’s website, “After harvest, this wine is aged in stainless steel until bottling, preserving the freshness and fruit we love about Montepulciano.” Yup, sounds good to me. I noted that the 2017 is already listed and that this wine also comes in big 1.5L bottles. I could hardly think of a better wine for a party than a magnum of this red.

It’s got super-juicy black cherry flavors, a little bit of sappiness (not sappy like The Notebook* but like the stuff from trees) giving the wine body, and a nice bright minty snap on the finish. Wouldn’t hurt to throw it in the fridge for 30 minutes and server cool. Very food-friendly and also a pleasure to drink on its own. 12.5% alcohol.

Vigneti del Sole Montepulciano d’Abruzzo: Hall of Fame $10 Red

Hi! I like this wine. And my curtain.

I paid ten bucks for it. It’s definitely a great house wine candidate; take advantage of any offered case discount. You could probably get the same deal on six 1.5Ls, I’d see about having those ordered for you from your trusty wine shop. If you know the importer (Skurnik) it makes it a lot easier to track down.

Also a little Italian wine label knowledge. A lot of wines are “[Grape] of [Place].” Here the grape is Montepulciano and the region is Abruzzo. (Vigneti del Sole is the producer.) Same goes for Brunello di Montalcino, Barbera d’Asti, etc.

*Full disclosure: I watched The Notebook on a long international flight. I never sleep on airplanes so it’s a very contained, dark, surreal atmosphere to watch films. Literally everyone else on the flight is asleep except me. The combination of all these things makes movie-watching very…emotional. I (silently) wept so hard during the end of Silver Linings Playbook and during an animated movie, Rio. So if you’re on an international flight and sitting next to me, I suggest you go to sleep ASAP or bring some Kleenex for my tears. And don’t worry, I always get an aisle seat so I won’t be waking you up to go to the bathroom.

Map by By Gigillo83 via Wikimedia Commons

The post Vigneti del Sole Montepulciano d’Abruzzo: Hall of Fame $10 Red appeared first on Jameson Fink.